More realization creates clogging for the impact of plastic

  • Abhishek Gupta
  • 13 December 2019

Born and raised in India’s commercial capital, busy and hot Mumbai, Abhishek Gupta came to the Netherlands in 2017 on a secondment. A couple of years through the stint, he has collaboratively authored a unique research as part of The Ocean Cleanup: “The price tag of plastic pollution”.

Pride and openness

Abhishek took a course in Telecommunications engineering after which he earned an MBA in Finance & Strategy. He spent the next eighteen months working in IT assurance and he continued in Risk Advisory to broaden his horizon. “I came into contact with Deloitters through an engagement for a client. The pride and openness they showed when talking about Deloitte impressed me. I started working for Deloitte India in 2015. Here I got acquainted with the colleagues of Deloitte in the Netherlands who worked with Process X-Ray, an innovative application. Because of my experience in performance improvement and passion for data analytics, this tool intrigued me. I was soon able to get a secondment to the Netherlands.”

The culture at Deloitte in the Netherlands is inclusive and innovative. Everyone shares ideas and respects each other's views.

The Ocean Cleanup

Process X-Ray was not where he started working though. Instead, he became involved in other cool projects. “I was fortunate to have met with Sander Oudmaijer and Vincent Viool from Consulting who asked me to co-write a proposal for the European Commission. I had never worked for the Public Sector earlier but was enthused that I could bring my experience and skills to impact the society. Through Sander I then joined another wonderful project. We developed a model in collaboration with The Ocean Cleanup to calculate the economic damage of river-borne plastic waste to coastal communities. The price tag of plastic pollution turned out to be a staggering USD 19 billion a year!”

Hard work and perseverance

The project grew from a pilot encompassing a few European countries, to a comprehensive assessment for 87 countries. “We talked to some 40 Deloitters globally to validate the data and everyone was really enthusiastic! It took more than ten months of hard work and perseverance of my team which constituted professionals from three different service lines. One of the challenges was using one single model for all coastal countries in scope with the objective to have results that were comparable.

I did not meet the founder of The Ocean Cleanup, Boyan Slat, in person but I did speak to him over the phone. He asked us to write a paper with a simple to understand explanation of the model, and publish it.”

Project with impact

The Deloitte research has added an extra dimension to the discussion on plastic waste, says Abhishek. “We made an impact with this project in that we created greater awareness for plastic being just as much a financial as an ecological problem.” Abhishek has received a lot of recognition from his team and from the Deloitte Impact Foundation. “Everyone at Deloitte backs it up. I’m convinced the project will generate even more impact as it becomes more widely known, so that’s what we are working on.”

Drinking from the tap…

Three service lines have been involved in the project: Risk, Strategy Consulting and Technology Consulting. Abhishek experiences the collaboration with his Dutch colleagues as very positive. “The culture at Deloitte in the Netherlands is inclusive and innovative. Everyone, from working students to senior partners, shares ideas and respect each other's views. When I arrived in the Netherlands, my first time in Europe, I was quickly made to feel at ease and soon felt comfortable. While acclimatizing with the flora and fauna, I feel the strangest question I asked a colleague was whether it was really okay to drink directly from the tap...”

Check this interactive map to see the estimated costs of the economic damage by plastic waste per country.

Abhishek Gupta

Manager Risk Advisory

Abhishek works as a Manager at Deloitte in the Netherlands. He has more than 7 years professional experience in data driven consulting and strategy implementation. His domain expertise spans Business & Operating Model Transformation, Process Excellence, and Business Analytics using advanced data analyses. Abhishek has a keen interest in innovation and is passionate in applying his professional expertise in addressing economic problems confronting society.

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